Sun Protection

While the sun sustains all life on earth, it can also be your skin’s worst enemy; too much sun exposure can lead to dark spots, wrinkles, leathery skin, premature aging, and skin cancer. There is no surefire way to completely protect your skin from the sun. However, you can do a few things to minimize the damage and keep your skin young and healthy. The best path is to adopt these steps into your lifestyle by making them daily habits.

SPF is Your BFFSun Protection

The best thing you can do to protect your skin from the sun is to always wear sunscreen. Sunscreen reduces the short-term and long-term effects of harmful UV damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that everyone should use sunscreen that: 

·Offers broad spectrum protection, which protects against UVA and UVB rays.

·Has an SPF of 30 or higher.

·Is water-resistant.

·Tinted sunscreens with iron oxide help protect against dark spots. Iron oxide defends against the sun’s visible light.

You should apply sunscreen every day on skin not covered by clothing. Remember to use it on the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears, and the top of your head. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before going outdoors. When outdoors, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours or after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the bottle. Skin cancer also can form on the lips. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Cover It UpSun Protection

Another great protective barrier against UV rays is clothing. Consistent over time, clothing protection doesn’t wear off like sunscreen. The more skin you cover, the better. As a bonus, many fabrics nowadays offer breathability and high-tech skin protection.

Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat (three inches or more), especially during the summer, as it helps shade your face, ears, and neck. Protect your eyes and the surrounding sensitive skin with UV-blocking sunglasses. When looking for protective clothing and accessories, look for the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) label. The number indicates what fraction of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the fabric. For example, UPF 40 allows only 1/40th of the UV radiation to reach your skin. 

Seek Shade

When you’re outside, think of shade as a refuge or shield. While shade isn’t perfect – some UV rays can pass through leaves and branches, hit your skin from the side, or reflect off water, glass, concrete, or sand – it is a good defense against the sun. During the hours of 10 AM – 4 PM, the peak hours of sun intensity, seek shade as much as possible. If you must be outside during this period, sit under a sun-protective umbrella or awning, stand under a tree, or walk on the shady side of the street. A good rule of thumb is to look at your shadow; anytime your shadow is shorter than you, seek shade.

Visit Your Dermatologist Regularly

In addition to practicing sun safety in your daily life, regularly visiting your dermatologist for check-ups and skin exams is crucial. These annual visits allow your doctor to routinely assess the skin’s condition and look for any warning signs of skin cancer. Additionally, dermatologists offer treatments for sun-damaged skin. While you cannot reverse years of sun damage, treatments can smooth out wrinkles, even skin tone, and reduce the appearance of dark spots. If you are searching for an excellent dermatology office, we recommend Dallas Dermatology Partners.

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